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A Clash of Normativities: International Society and International Community

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image of International Community Law Review

This paper will suggest that since the end of the Cold War liberal states have instituted a new regime of international relations and of international peace and security in particular. Historically, legitimate statehood could be situated virtually exclusively within international society; in their international relations all states subscribed to a common normative standard which regarded all states qua states as legitimate sovereign equals irrespective of the political constitution that they endorsed. With the end of the Cold War, however, an international community of liberal states has formed within international society which considers only those states that respect the liberal values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as legitimate. Non-liberal states are not only denigrated as illegitimate but more significantly they are stripped of their previously held sovereign status where international community, motivated by the theory that international peace and security can only be achieved in a world composed of exclusively liberal states, campaigns for their liberal transformation. Finally, it will be suggested that despite the disagreement between liberal states over the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 international community survives, and thus its (antagonistic) relationship with non-liberal states continues to provide a useful method for theorising international peace and security in the contemporary world order.

Affiliations: 1: University of Bristol


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